el producto #216 🚀

Klarna's funding round, Twitter premium features, Sony's PS5 VR headset, Didi Chuxing to expand in Europe, Actionable Roadmaps, Coinbase IPO & more

Welcome to a new edition of el producto!

🎰 The week in figures

$800M: Sweden-based fintech firm Klarna is raising $800M to $1B on a ~$31B post-money valuation; an official announcement is expected in the coming days; Klarna raised $650M on a $10.6B valuation last September; follows a suggestion from Klarna CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski that the company could go public via a direct listing

$250M: India-based Zomato raises $250M at a $5.4B valuation; investors valued the firm at $3.9B for a $660M round in December; in September, the company said it planned to go public in the first half of 2021; raised $1.9B to date

$200M: Seattle-based sales training and management tools company Highspot raises $200M at a $2.3B valuation; enables management to roll out training content, marketing materials, more; the company tracks employee engagement to determine which materials are most effective for each client; customers include General Motors and Nestle; raised $397M to date

192M: Twitter hopes to have 315M monetizable daily active users (mDAUs) by the end of 2023; the company reported 192M mDAUs for the fourth quarter of last year; Twitter expects to double the $3.7B in revenue generated during 2020 to $7.5B in 2023

€157M: Spain-based peer-to-peer marketplace Wallapop raises €157M (~$191M); the company operates a mobile app that lets users buy and sell from each other; Wallapop had been set to merge with LetGo, but those plans were canceled in 2018

$116M: Reddit raises $116M Series E (extension) at a $6B pre-valuation from undisclosed investors, bringing the round total to $367M; raised ~$917M to date

$109M: South Africa-based fintech firm TymeBank raises ~$109M; operates a mobile-centric challenger bank; launched in 2019, TymeBank claims 2.8M customers

$80M: Digital asset platform Anchorage raises $80M Series C; offers custodial services, crypto-lending, more; also enables large companies to add cryptocurrencies to their balance sheets; TeslaSquare, and MicroStrategy are among the firms that have recently made large bitcoin purchases; Anchorage obtained a federal bank charter in January and plans to offer crypto-banking-as-a-service to traditional and challenger banks

$45M: Shippo, which enables e-commerce companies to offer shipping estimates and services from multiple carriers, raises $45M Series D at a $495M valuation led by D1 Capital; enables customers to print discounted shipping labels, track packages (also offers buyer notifications), more; raised $104M to date

$30M: New York City-based Fi, which makes connected collars that alert pet owners when a dog exits a geofenced area or wanders too far during a walk, raises $30M Series B at a $200M valuation; uses GPS, Wi-Fi-access points, and Bluetooth beacons for triangulation; uses LTE-M data connectivity for transmitting location info; raised $40M to date

$20M: Disposable camera and photo-sharing app startup Dispo raises $20M Series A at a ~$200M valuation; popular YouTuber David Dobrik co-founded the company; previously raised $4M

$16M: Germany-based cloud spreadsheets startup Rows (formerly Dashdash) raises $16M Series B; Rows offers a collaborative spreadsheets platform (currently in public beta) that integrates with Salesforce, Slack, Stripe, Google Maps, and more; has raised $24M to date

$15M: Software testing platform Maze raises $15M Series A; the startup offers browser-based user testing tools to enterprise customers; has raised $17.5M to date

25k: India-based e-commerce firm Flipkart says it will deploy more than 25k EVs across its supply chain by 2030; the Walmart-controlled company is aiming for 100% electric mobility over the next decade; Flipkart is partnering with EV firms such as Hero Electric, Mahindra Electric, and Piaggio to build out its fleet

📰 What’s going on

Twitter announces premium feature Super Follow, enabling influencers and creators to charge followers for exclusive content and more; the company also announced plans for interest-based groups; a creator could establish a group then charge users to join; the coming Communities feature will enable users to join larger groups and see related tweets in their feeds; feature mockups indicated hashtags could point to groups; launch timing undisclosed

Spotify announced several features and services:

  • the Spotify Audience Network, an audio advertising marketplace selling spots for Spotify's ad-supported music offering and Spotify's Originals and Exclusives; will also sell podcast space via Megaphone, which Spotify acquired for $235M in November

  • HiFi, a streaming plan promising lossless, CD-quality sound; the company currently offers a max audio quality of 320kbps; HiFi will initially be limited to select markets; pricing and other details undisclosed

  • plans to begin beta testing paid podcast subscriptions this spring; using the Anchor podcast creation tool, creators will have the ability to publish premium episodes

  • will launch in 85 new markets representing 1B+ people over the next few days; currently serves 93 markets; will serve 178 following the expansion; as of Q4, the company claimed 345M monthly active listeners

  • new creator tools, including a self-serve version of self-promotion tool Marquee, Discovery Mode (beta - enables artists to select specific songs for recommendations), and visual looping feature Canvas

Google rolls out Android update with new Password Checkup feature, which checks saved passwords against known compromises and duplicates; also adds scheduled texts in Messages, an improved version of TalkBack for the hearing impaired, new lock screen abilities for Assistant, an updated Android Auto and a dark mode for Maps

Google rolls out Sleep API, allowing Android developers to use smartphone data to build sleep-tracking apps; the API can monitor light from a device and its motion sensor; that data is then used to generate a sleep confidence score and a daily sleep roundup; apps that use the API must get permission from users before it can access such data

Amazon makes its Luna game-streaming service available to all US users on supported Fire TV devices; Luna launched with invite-only access last year; the Luna controller previously required an invite for purchase but is now available to all; new users can sign up for one free week of Luna Plus, which will run $6 per month thereafter

WhatsApp will limit functionality for users who do not accept its updated terms, which are set to roll out on May 15; such users will not be able to send or read messages; they will still receive notifications and calls, but all functions will cease after a few weeks; WhatsApp has faced criticism because it plans to share message data with Facebook for conversations between users and businesses

Facebook is adding a “Hey Facebook” wake word for its Portal displays and Oculus Quest headsets; Portal still supports “Hey Portal”; Quest users have typically launched voice commands by double-tapping the Oculus button; the new feature is rolling out gradually

Facebook's NPE Team launches BARS - Rapper's Delight for iOS, enabling rappers to choose from professionally produced backing tracks and record videos of them rapping; in December, NPE Team launched Collab, encouraging strangers to work on songs together; BARS is for creating and sharing single-account tracks; also offers a Challenge Mode, prompting freestyle rappers with topics

Sony will launch a new VR headset for PlayStation 5; details undisclosed, but PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan said the unit would be less cumbersome than the PS4 VR headset; he also said the company planned to ship developer kits soon; Ryan said PS5 demand was higher than expected; that, along with the global semiconductor shortage, resulted in PS5 supply constraints

Video of a purported Samsung AR headset leaks; clips demonstrate a sunglasses-like product known as Glasses Lite; it’s unclear whether Glasses Lite is a product in development or just a concept

Crypto exchange Coinbase files for a direct listing; the company revealed it had net revenue of $1.1B last year, up from $483M in 2019; it had net profit of $322M in 2020, having posted a loss the year prior; claims 43M users and 2.8M monthly transactions

UK-based TransferWise rebrands as Wise; the company notes it will fully switch its branding next month; follows reports the firm is preparing for an IPO

Firefox rolls out a tool to stop cookies from tracking users across multiples sites; known as Total Cookie Protection, the feature is included in the latest build of the browser; also adds support for multiple picture-in-picture windows at the same time; available for Windows, macOS, and Linux

China-based ride-hailing firm Didi Chuxing plans to expand into Western Europe; the company is considering establishing operations in the UK, Germany, and France as early as this year; Didi has already established a team in the region to begin the recruitment process

Huawei plans to move into the EV market; the company will develop and sell a car under its own brand; Huawei is in talks with multiple carmakers, including China-based Changan Automobile, about using their production facilities

Singapore announces a new visa program aimed at foreign-born tech workers and entrepreneurs; known as Tech.Pass, the program requires applicants to show they have earned more than ~$15k a month for the previous 12 months; those approved will be allowed to start a business in the city-state, or work for an employer of their choice; the visas will last for two years; comes as Singapore restricts visa options for those working in the manufacturing sector 

Square ($115.7B market cap) FQ4 beats: $3.16B revenue, up from $1.31B during the year-earlier period ($3.1B expected); $0.32 EPS ($0.24 expected); $987M merchant business revenue; $2.17B Cash app revenue ($1.76B of which was from Bitcoin); $32B gross payment volume, up from $28.6B during the year-earlier period

Airbnb ($109.4B market cap) reports ~$3.9B loss in its first quarterly report since going public; lost $11.24 per share; $859M revenue, down 22% YoY ($748M expected); CEO Brian Chesky said Airbnb has no plans to spend as much on marketing as it had before the COVID-19 pandemic

Salesforce ($212B market cap) Q4 beats: $5.8B revenue, up 20% YoY ($5.7B expected); $1.04 EPS ($.075 expected)

DoorDash ($53B market cap) Q4 beats: $970M revenue, up 226% YoY ($938M expected); $312M GAAP loss, which compares with $123M GAAP loss for the same period in 2019; DoorDash says the shortfall comes from IPO-related costs and stock-based compensation; on an investor call, CFO Prabir Adarkar says the company is seeing weekly order growth in markets that have loosened their COVID-19 restrictions

👩🏾‍💻 Good reads

Creating an actionable Product Roadmap: Jan-Henrik Franetzki shares a solid roadmap approach to balance certainty and flexibility, based on Miro

Bug-bashing for fun and profit. Misha Abasov shares some best practices for organising bug-bashing sessions. If you are not familiar with the concept of bug-bashing (or you find your sessions inefficient), check out this article

Ben Evans on Shopify’s success. Shopify’s 2020 results came out last week, and it reported that consumers spent a total of $120bn on its platform, almost exactly double the figure from 2019

Clubhouse beyond Silicon Valley. How the audio app is booming in markets as diverse as Nigeria, Japan, Hong Kong or India

Building Products and making ethical choices. Pavani Reddy, author of the book Ethical Product Development, shares 8 frequent questions on a topic we should all (as PMs) be familiar with

Have a great weekend.


el producto is a curated selection of Tech&Product happenings within the last few days from a curious and frequently skeptical Product leader perspective. Free forever. Sign-up here